Originally played in Hawaii using bottle tops, collecting and playing with Pogs became a craze during the 1990s and then fizzled out, pretty much entirely, giving way to new games and collectibles. But if you want to engage in this retro pastime, or teach someone about the ‘good old days’, we’ll give you a quick recap on how to play Pogs.
To play Pogs, you’ll need a collection of Pogs (little circular discs) and a heavier Pog slammer to chuck at them. You make a stack of Pogs, and then the objective is to throw the slammer at the tower, flipping as many Pogs over as possible. It’s quite straightforward, but if you have any questions, below is a full explanation of how to play Pogs.
For an even bigger retro kick, check out the best 90s board games. Or, if you’re really old, you might need to try these great classic board games to get those nostalgic warm fuzzies. And if you’re on the lookout for more retro collectors items, check out our guide to the best Nerf guns. Now without further ado, here’s:
How to play Pogs
- Decide if you’re playing for keeps
- Create the central stack of Pogs
- Determine who will go first
- Take turns throwing your slammer
- How to win Pogs
Decide if you’re playing for keeps
Before you play Pogs, it’s essential that both participants agree whether or not you’re playing for keeps. It’s pretty self-explanatory: If you play for keeps, you’ll get to keep any of the Pogs that you manage to flip over. If not, you’ll hand them back to their owners at the end of the game. Pogs come in numerous shapes, colors, and designs, and it’s likely everyone has their favorites. We’re sure you don’t need to tell you that you shouldn’t play with any that you’re not willing to lose.
Arguments that were sparked by playing Pogs for keeps is the main reason the game was banned from most schools. These things can spoil friendships: just ask anyone who was a kid in the 90s.
Create the central stack of Pogs
All players need to contribute the same number of Pogs to the central tower, so take turns placing Pogs on the stack. Pogs must be placed face up, with their design showing.
There’s no required stack size in a casual game, so add as many as you like, but if you want an official recommendation, The World Pogs Federation (did you know there was one?) says 11 is the correct number. However, that can be awkward for two-player games: it depends whether you’re more concerned about avoiding ties or having an equal number of Pogs in the tower.
The WPF also recommends you place the stack on an official tournament board, but in the extremely likely event that you don’t have one of these, any suitably flat surface will do fine.
Determine who will go first
Going first can be a pretty big advantage in Pogs. Provided you don’t miss entirely, it’s easiest to flip plenty of Pogs when the stack is at its largest. To determine who goes first when playing Pogs, the traditional method is flipping a Pog, as you would a coin.
Take turns throwing your slammer
To take a turn in Pogs, grab your slammer, then throw it down onto the stack. Any Pogs that flip over so they’re face down count as points. Remove them from the pile and set them aside. If you’re playing for keeps, you’ll get to keep these at the end of the game. Then, reform the stack with the remaining Pogs, and pass to the next player.
To keep things fair, you should probably both use the same Pog slammer, since bigger heavier metal slammers will have more impact. These can also dent the Pogs if thrown with force, so make sure everyone’s happy with the Pog slammer you’re using.
How to win Pogs
Determining the winner in Pogs is pretty simple: the player with the most flipped Pogs once the stack is entirely depleted wins.
And that’s everything you need to know to play Pogs. For more games old and new check out our list of the best board games. Or if you’d rather keep the retro vibes going, check out the best Hot Wheels cars and the best Matchbox cars.